Sunday, 10 January 2021

Armadillo

Finished January 7
Armadillo by William Boyd


This novel is set around a young man, Lorimer Black, who works as an insurance adjustor. As the novel opens, he goes to a business appointment and discovers a hanged man, the man he was supposed to meet with. He calls the police and waits for their arrival and then returns to his office to report on the development. 
He has an interesting relationship with his boss Hogg, who seems to like him and appreciate his skills, but then inexplicably starts treating him more distantly and with less respect. As Black tries to figure this out, he also deals with a couple of other cases for work. One is an complex where a fire destroyed a significant portion of the building, and one is a famous musician who cancelled a tour. There is also a new guy at work that latches on to him and seems eager to be his friend, but is he just using him?
He also has issues on the home front. His father has been ill for some years, in a state of nonresponsiveness, yet awake and able to get around to an extent. Lorimer is the only one not living with or near his parents, and he goes on a regular basis to visit, supply funds to those who need them, and hang out. His older brother Slobodan runs a delivery business and lives in a small house nearby, alone since his marriage ended. We find out here that Lorimer Black is not the name he started life with and over the course of the book, we see what led to him changing his name from Milomre Blocj. I found this aspect of the book quite interesting and the secrets he keeps from his family.
Lorimer also has a longstanding sleep issue, and has been going regularly to a sleep clinic as they try to help him find a solution to this problem. His relationship with the doctor in charge is also an interesting one, going beyond the bounds of a patient/doctor relationship. 
Lorimer also has a few interesting interests. He has a passion for ancient armor, helmets in particular, and musical tastes that are not mainstream.
There is a plot of sorts here, but this book is also a lot about Lorimer Black as a character, learning about him, about what makes him tick, and that part really hooked me. I would like to see what happened to him after the events here. 

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